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Friday, April 8, 2011

The Easter Egg Hunt is On!

It's the Ink Drop Easter Egg Hunt!

This month for Ink Drop, we did a theme unlike anything we've done before. Normally we send out 5 labeled samples related to whatever the month's theme is. This month, we selected Easter Egg Hunt as the theme, and sent out 5 samples labeled only as Easter Eggs #1-5. Like small children hunting for plastic Easter eggs, we wanted YOU to search and find and guess what colors they are! Which brings us to our contest....

Today launches the Ink Drop Easter Egg Hunt giveaway contest. If you're an Ink Drop member, we want you to guess what 5 colors you think you got this month. For each one you guess correctly, you'll be eligible to win a free full-size bottle of that color. We'll be randomly selecting each winner from the correct guesses and will announce it on the blog.

"How do I enter?"

Enter in the contest by answering a short survey. The survey link is posted below. It's pretty simple - we just want your five guesses for the colors (be sure to include the brand too!), then your name and email so we can contact you if you win!


Please be sure to complete the entire survey and only enter once. The contest begins right now, and ends on Monday (4/18) at 11:59pm EST. Enter anytime between now and then.

The winners and the answers will be announced live during our Write Time at 9 broadcast on Tuesday night (4/19) at 9pm EST, and posted up on the Ink Nouveau blog on Wednesday morning (4/20). Once we've announced the colors, we'll be making the discounted bottles available for sale to members on our site too.

"How on earth am I supposed to figure out these colors?"

First of all, use the inks! Swab them, write with them, get a feel for how they perform. Compare it to inks you already have. Then probably the best thing to do would be to look at our Swab Shop and compare colors. Obviously there may be slight differences in how things appear in person versus on a computer monitor, but it should help. You can look by color group, by brand, or pick and choose to compare colors side-by-side. You can also browse forums like the Fountain Pen Network, or other blogs that have ink reviews. We have quite a few of our favorite blogs listed to the right under Blog List. If all else fails, just take a wild guess!

"Why did you do this? It's driving me crazy not to know!"

We thought it'd be fun, and something different. A lot of people form opinions on brands and colors before they've ever tried it for themselves. This is like doing a blind taste test, but with pen and ink! We think you may be surprised by the answers.

Don't worry, next month we'll go back to regularly labeled vials. ;)

"What if I'm not an Ink Drop member?"

There's still time to sign up! You have until the 14th of the month to sign up and receive that month's colors. We have an ongoing membership (where you are automatically billed each month), or a prepaid version where you can select how many months you want to do and pay up front. You can even just do one month to try it out and see how you like it! And you don't just get the 5 samples, but you'll get discounts on the full bottles and other items on our site.

If you decide that you're not interested or can't financially swing it, no problem. We'll have other giveaways on the blog in the future.


What did you think of the theme this month... fun or frustrating? Which inks do you like best?

72 comments:

  1. Brutal honesty?

    This makes me want to resign from the ink drop. I want samples properly labelled - no messing about. Maybe I'm boring - but I'm not here to play games I'm here to test out inks.

    I'm sure some will love it, but hey, if we were all the same life would be so very, very boring.

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  2. Haha this is wicked... fun! But I understand how some people might not like it.

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  3. It sounds awesome! I can't wait to get my inks.

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  4. Wow, that sure is brutal alright! We're doing something that's never been done before with this whole Ink Drop thing, and we're having to figure things out as we go. The one thing we've learned so far is that no matter what we do, some will love it and some will hate it :P We won't be doing this type of thing every month, we were just trying it out. It'd be a shame for you to give up on it just because of one month...

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  5. I'm glad you like it! The response so far has been overwhelmingly positive, people are posting all over the place on FPN about how much they love trying all of the inks without knowing what they are: http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php?/topic/191667-april-ink-drop/

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  6. Definitely! I think you'll have a blast with them.

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  7. I thought it was a fun and innovative change from the regular Ink Drops. But I'm also glad you're going to resume with the regular labeled samples! I am most interested in heavily pigmented, dark inks with a hint of color, as opposed to very brightly colored inks, and would love to see more of those included in future ink drops. You two do such a wonderful job. Thank you for the spectacular service, informative videos, and fun times on Tuesday nights!

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  8. Question, and no hostility here. What's keeping you from testing the inks? You can still do all the same things. The only hitch is you wait for a name verification for a couple of weeks. Nothing else changes. What changes in your testing process when the names are gone?

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  9. I've lost two samples due to kitty curiosity. :) Ollie got a hold of #4 and #1. I will note that #1 washed out much faster. ;) He did look quite nice. ;) It's fun and a little different.

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  10. I'm having a blast, I just had one problem though. I have two labeled # 1! I'm missing a # 3, so one of them is that but how to tell which?

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  11. Oh no! I'm really sorry about that! The #1 is a blue ink, the #3 is a purple ink, that's how you can tell. I'll shoot you an email and we'll get it all straightened out.

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  12. Oh no! Curiosity killed the samples!

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  13. Thanks for your feedback here. Just for reference, what specific inks do you have in mind when you say dark and heavily pigmented?

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  14. I was totally annoyed when I received the Ink Drop. A few minutes later, I came to my senses and realized that the labels don't matter; the objective is to experience the inks. (A bonus life lesson for my $10, heh!) Now I'm thinking it would be fun never to reveal the colors. Just post the prices for # through #5, and if we like one enough to buy a bottle, we'll find out what it is when we receive it. Okay, that would be going a little too far. :) But I do enjoy having to think outside my little box.

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  15. Have you ever tried putting a sample into a lab when it isn't labelled properly? It's a no go. I can only do basic tests not properly analyse the ink to fully understand which pens it will work best with and how to adjust for the "wetness" of the ink.

    Inks are something I take seriously - I don't want to play games, it's not what I signed up for. Looks like I'm the only one who doesn't like this.

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  16. Interesting idea. I am on Vacation, so I won't play (well I could try to blindly guess them ;), but it sounds interesting. I wish anyone entering the best of luck.

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  17. As I said, we'd be boring if we all liked the same things.

    This is a big, very big (!) downer for me. Just ruins the point of the samples for me. Knowing the brand and the name means you can fully examine the ink - if you can't do that there is no point.

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  18. This was lots of fun. Just like an Easter Egg Hunt, you have to look and figure out , which was great. Such lovely colors, I know if I got number two wrong, I will definately be ordering that color!!!

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  19. We are going to be revealing what all of the inks are. My suggestion would be to just wait until we do release the names before you test your inks if you are taking a more scientific approach to it.

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  20. This is just one month. Next month will be different. I hope you won't write off the whole club just because of this month.

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  21. You could just blindly guess, it wouldn't hurt! Maybe you'll just get it by chance!

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  22. I originally was disappointed. Like the person who wished to remain nameless above, I wanted my inks labeled and wanted to get right into trying things out and putting things on my wishlist.

    However, after a while I grew to like the idea and think it's fun to try an ink without bias. It kind of reminds me of those Coke vs. Pepsi blind taste tests! :D I have only tried one of the samples so far, and I think I know what it is. ;)

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  23. So far of the people that have entered, everyone's gotten at least one right! Hehe....it's going to be so much fun to see what everyone guesses!

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  24. Scientists perform blind studies all the time. It help prevents bias. My suggestion would be to take a step back and reevaluate the situation. I don't personally believe that the ink drop is meant to be taken so seriously.

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  25. I'm going to guess that #1 will end up having the highest percentage of correct guesses. It seemed to me like there weren't many inks in the swab shop that matched that one. Of course, I could be way off base. I have made my guesses and will be eagerly waiting to see how many (if any!) I've gotten right.

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  26. I'm glad it's growing on you! A lot of the point of Ink Drop is to get everyone to expand their ink horizons, I think a lot of people will be surprised which inks they like despite what they *thought* about a given brand.

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  27. You think so? Interesting...I think there are other 'eggs' that are easier to guess. #1 is a blue that has a lot of similar ones to it... ;) Tehehe!!

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  28. Brian, thanks for your reply. Examples of inks I love (but already have) are Noodler's Sequoia (which is a beautifully neutralized, dark green, heavily pigmented but doesn't "scream" with high chroma), Private Reserve Chocolat (rich, thick, dark brown that separates in a wash to red and a bit of green), and Noodler's Nightshade (gorgeous muted violet that looks almost black in a heavy line). Perhaps there are some blues or other colors that fall into this category of high strength (thick and dark) and low chroma (as opposed to colors that scream), that I haven't yet discovered.

    Lightfastness is also an issue for me. I've started running tests on samples, and it's surprising how quickly some inks fade with exposure to sunlight, even through double pane glass. Some are holding up quite well though. I'll be starting to share these test results in two more days.

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  29. Haha...judging from other comments in the post here, I think I'd be tarred and feathered if I never released the colors! We will, don't worry ;)

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  30. Adding more fun to the ink drop, thats blasphemy. What next, great customer service. :)

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  31. Thanks for elaborating! There are a lot more inks that fit in this category like you're talking about. When you say 'thick', are you talking about the way the color appears on the page (also referred to as saturation) or the flow of the ink when writing?

    Some other colors that might work in this range are Noodler's Zhivago, Diamine Chocolate Brown, Diamine Majestic Blue, Noodler's Kung Te-Cheng, Noodler's Squetegue, and lots of others that just aren't coming to mind right now.

    I'm very eager to see what you see in your experiments! I don't know the most about ink chemistry, but I do know that inks with multiple dyes tend to fade quicker than ones used with pure dyes. Of course, it's rare we actually know much about what goes into the inks we love because it's proprietary info, but that helps at least give a basic understanding.

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  32. Haha! Yes, you'd better watch out!

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  33. I have two labeled #1 as well!

    However, one's purple and one's blue. I take it that one's #3?

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  34. Yikes! I'm really sorry about that. The purple one is #3.

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  35. Wow, I thought #1 was by far the most challenging! Go figure. :)

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  36. Hopefully I will get my samples before the contest ends, I would love a chance to take part without doing a 'totally blind' guess. :) My samples usually arrive in the middle of the month up here in Western Canada. I think the Post Office likes to check out the pretty colours before sending them on. :)

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  37. I know that all of our international Ink Droppers are at a disadvantage here, and I'm really sorry about that. We tried to delay the contest and make it open as long as we reasonably could, but we can only go so long as we need to reveal the inks at some point so we can make the 10% off available to all members.

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  38. Love, love, love this! It's a LOT harder than I thought it would be! I've been using your Swab Shop interactive tool but all I can do is narrow it down to several! I'm sure (I hope) about #2 because I have that ink and #4 is my favorite color (haven't figured out what it is but can't wait to order it when it's revealed!) so I'll probably just be giving it my best guess!
    This is so much fun!!!

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  39. Me too! That one is the trickiest.

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  40. Anon, do you know that you can order samples of all the Goulet Pen inks? If you're doing scientific studies perhaps you should be choosing your own samples, thereby assuring you get a proper array of brands/colors. This is not a criticism of your opinion but I think you should consider just ordering samples.

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  41. Brian, when I say "thick", I'm talking about the way it seems in the bottle and the way it appears on the page. Artists equate saturation with chroma, and in Photoshop, high saturation = brighter/more intense color. What I mean is actually less intense color, and a LOT of it! I think you understand it, because you're giving perfect examples in your little list above!

    Most of the ones you mention fit the bill exactly for things I'd like to test drive. The Diamine Majestic Blue is too true-blue for my purposes (not muted enough), but the others would certainly qualify. I like the Kung Te-Cheng quite a bit (got that in the last Ink Drop) and it stays put when washed over with watercolor, making it useful in other ways. It's nice to have some that will wash with a waterbrush and some that won't. The Noodler's Bulletproof Black and Lexington Gray are wonderful for staying put also --- nothing makes those colors move!

    Also, some that are classified as gray or black really aren't exactly, and can wash into beautiful muted colors. It's always fun to discover those --- like the subtle green in the Diamine Graphite.



    Jamie

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  42. I just get to puzzle them out based on how they presented on the orange cat. He was very upset that he had to get a bath out of the deal. ;)

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  43. Now I'm curious. :) And again, no hostility here at all. I'm new to pens/ink so I'm trying to learn. Because I'm new it means my process for testing inks is pretty basic. I take pen, dip, write several pages and note my observations. I generally don't do external evaluations of the ink because I'm trying to avoid walking in with a bias other than, "I don't find color XYZ". What types of testing aside from write testing are you doing?

    Using your lab sample question, no sample goes into the lab unlabeled. That doesn't mean I know what said sample is. ;) That's why the tests are run, to determine the characteristics and tell me what said ink is. In this case I've just got my samples noted as Egg Drop Sample 1, with a blank for the name later.

    And again, this is about me learning a new way to look at it. If you don't want to discuss here I totally get it. I'd love to continue the discussion if you are willing.

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  44. Knowing the name and brand has absolutely no bearing on the qualities of the ink or the results of the test. Run your tests and let the ink stand on it's own, not the label on the bottle.

    Bias is a terrible thing...

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  45. This is really cool, using inks without the baggage of labels. Freedom! I would like to order a bottle of #4 ... How do I go about putting in my order? Can I get it in a plain bottle so I Never know what it is? I'm serious. :-)

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  46. Brian, can you put up some statistics when posting the colors on the 18th? Some basic information like the percentage of correct guesses on each color would be interesting. Another neat factoid will be how many people (if any) guess all five colors correctly.

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  47. Haha, shoot me an email and we'll work something out for you ;)

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  48. Definitely! We're going to post some fun stuff about what everyone thought after the contest is over. We're getting some interesting guesses so far!

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  49. I'm on the fence about this one.
    On one hand, it is fun and something different. I can also appreciate the "blind test" aspect. On the other hand, I personally like to "research" the inks a bit so I can load them into a pen which will play well the with reported qualities of the ink. IE: if an ink has a reputation of being "dry", I'd load it into a wetter-writing pen. The samples are just that- samples- so I would prefer not to use them up figuring out their properties, I'd rather just focus on the colors. Just my opinion.

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  50. Very valid points. My suggestion is to swab or dip test the inks to get an idea for the color (for the contest), then save the full test for after the reveal :)

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  51. Great minds think alike... that is exactly what I did!!! :-)

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  52. I thought it was a fun idea, and my samples arrived this morning (UK) :) I'm fairly confident that I've guessed 2 and 5 correctly, as they look suspiciouly the same as two inks that I already have, but 1 and 4 I'm not too sure about. They all seem to coincide with the idea I had regarding the theme, but for a while I thought that 1 could be an odd one out... Looking forward to seeing how many I guessed correctly though. Good luck everyone!

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  53. I think this is a great idea! I love #3 but can't quite figure it out, I've got it narrowed down to two (i think) but I'm still working on it and the others.

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  54. I did my guessing based on the swabs but working from a laptop monitor, my guesses are probably not so good. It was fun to try though. Neat idea, Brian and Rachel. As to how I like the inks from the drop, they are pretty but I use my different that most I think. . . I use them for drawing in my sketchbook with pen/wash techniques and so prefer more neutral colors and/or colors that give good dark/light contrast when washed.

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  55. Well that actually arrived fairly quickly to the UK! I'm glad you get them with plenty of time for the contest, hopefully all of our other international members will have this same fortune. Good luck!

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  56. Thanks! #3 seems to be stumping a lot of people!

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  57. I'm glad you like it. We seem to be having more and more ink fans who use them just like you do BJ, for watercolor washing. This isn't a technique I'm all that familiar with, though it is something I've been exploring as of late. I am working with another blogger who does a lot of this to try to understand it better and even highlight inks that are ideal just for this purpose. I'm open to any input!

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  58. I love this easter-egg-hunt idea. I think it's a lot of fun. Thanks for providing us with a fun game this month. Also, I really like the colors. =)

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  59. I haven't had the time to break my samples out yet but I like this idea for a one-time bit of fun. Ink Drop has already plowed a lot of new ground and this is yet another example of the creative ideas coming out of Ashland, VA.

    I will admit, my initial reaction was similar to Anon's in that I normally want to know what is in each bottle so I can read up on the inks, ensure there's no unusual staining or mixing conflicts, pick a pen that complements each ink's reported characteristics, etc. Academically trained as a scientist, that's just in my nature. Oh yea, I read User's Manuals as well. ;-)

    But then I stepped back and looked at it from a different perspective. In actuality, this is no different from receiving an unknown lab sample for analysis other than I know it's fountain pen ink and I've been told the samples are "safe" in all pens. So now there's no preconceived ideas, no bias, no so-called "experts" to taint my opinion of each ink. Just me making an initial swab on bright white paper to get a general feel for the ink's pigment/color/saturation characteristics, drying time, etc. And then taking my best guess at which pen, which nib might best be suited for the ink and trying the samples out. Not the normal way I approach a new ink but a fun twist nevertheless. And I may run out of ink before I've completed my blind test approach but that's a game (Easter Egg Hunt) limitation.

    Now I just need to make time available to delve into these inks before the names are revealed which will ruin my surprise.

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  60. Well, I have had my samples out and scribbling with Pen Nibs and Brushes. I did words. I did swabs. I bet I got none correct. I will say that viewing on a iPhone and then the iMac make to different worlds of shades or it could have been the Red Fluid in the Glass I was sipping from. Made my choices this morning only Strong Starbucks FrenchPress Coffee and Cheerios for Breakfast. All out of food. Must now go to grocery or face Drinking my Inks for nourishment. ( Do not think there is any food value in Noodler's Cranberry styled Inks. My Sailor Inks are so clear, there be nothing in them to sustain one's body.

    Well, I had fun even if I got none of them. I was glad to participate.
    I look forward to seeing what the real colors are named.

    Sherrie Roberts I will post you a photo with no names later.

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  61. Me Too! I prefer to be in the dark. As a former Research Assistant that drove PhDs to their limit. I love this - Blank Bottles only for me too! Please. Sherrie Roberts

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  62. You, My Dear Anon, is the type of PhDs, I drove insane. So, much fun to watch them fall.
    So, sorry though it is over a one time fun experiment for Easter. Easter is so colorful, and It has been such a Cold Winter. It is nice to have something to Melt the Ice and be non Hazardous to ones being. Enjoy the Fun. Bring on Spring!

    Sherrie Roberts

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  63. Got my inks! I'm 99 percent sure I know what egg #1 is because I have that color already. And I think I know what #2 and #4 are because I may have just gotten Goulet ink samples of those same colors. But we'll find out... :-)
    I am so mentioning this is in my class paper, Brian!

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  64. The names will be revealed in the next week or so, so at the most, you'll have to wait 2 weeks after you've received your samples before you know what the ink is so you can do your thorough examination.

    Ultimately, there is nothing lost.

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  65. For posterity, my method for most of the samples involved dropping a bit of the ink on paper and then taking the inks I thought it might be and dropping a bit of the known ink on the paper. There was only one I own among the five, I think. I then moved to smell and attempted to at least narrow down to manufacturer based on the smell of the sample. I am hopeful that I got 2 or 3 of the bunch right.

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  66. OK, now I'm irritated. I like a couple of the ink drop colors and want to order some. I also wanted to get a Noodlers Clear Demonstrator, and a couple of other things. Not wanting to double up on postage, I thought to myself, "I'll wait and get it all at one time." Now I see you are out of the Noodler's Pen. Not cool.

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  67. I'm sorry Noah! We're working on getting more of the clear pens. We shouldn't be out for long.

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  68. To clarify... not irritated with you. I know you want to sell pens and ink and not sit on any stock waiting for me to one day place an order.

    Is there a way to note on the web site when items are almost out of stock? For example, I keep debating on which Edison Pen I want to buy. Knowing that either the Premiere or Hudson was almost gone might sway me one way or the other.

    In the mean time, thanks for the ordering tip!

    Goulet Pens... best customer service ever!

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  69. Thank you for the clarification! It's not even so much that we want to just 'move stuff' quickly, it's that sometimes we get a run on things unexpectedly. The clear Noodler's pens were out of stock for a bit, and we got in a bunch of them thinking we'd be okay for a while. As it turns out, we had a run on them and we're waiting for more to come in. It's hard to estimate when something will be 'almost' out of stock, because it's not always linked to the quantity we have on hand. Sometimes we don't sell a particular notebook for a month and we have 20 of them, then out of the blue, someone orders 20 and we're cleared out! That's retail for ya! Knowing what quantities to keep on hand to balance out always being in stock but also not having old inventory sitting on the shelves is an artform in and of itself.

    As for the Edison pens, Brian Gray makes them and ships them direct from his shop, so it's never 'out of stock'. The only thing that's been a big challenging for him is keeping certain gold nibs in stock, as the price of gold is so insane and he has to balance his own inventory on those.

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  70. That would be great, Brian! How exciting.

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